Mae Claire is a Filipino-American model, actress, singer, and cosplayer based in Philadelphia, PA. She has been featured in 5+ magazines and have modeled for several online fashion and beauty stores including GKK (귀여운 깡패), Skinny Bitch Apparel, YASUO, and LoveTokki. Since 2010, she has appeared and performed at various events and conventions all over the East Coast including AnimeNEXT, J1-Con, and more. Sitting down with Mae Claire we got some insight on her interesting culture:
Classic Entourage: Thank you for sitting down with us. What inspired you to start dressing up as your favorite anime characters?
Mae Claire: I’ve always been an anime fan ever since I was little. Naruto was the one show that got me really obsessed. I got into the online role play scene on sites like Gaia Online and Myspace as well as MMORPG games that allowed me to play as any character I wanted to be. Then, I found out about the cosplay scene from finding photos of Filipino-Chinese cosplayer, Alodia Gosiengfiao on DeviantART. She was my biggest inspiration that made me fall in love with the concept of actually being THE character. In addition, I had a lot of friends who were really into it too so our moments together always inspired me.
CE: What is the process, from start to finish, of getting a costume together?
MC: It really depends now. I used to make my costumes either from pre-existing parts or from scratch. But recently, I have been buying cosplay online simply because I want to focus on school and work priorities without giving up my love for cosplay. I still make props such as weapons and accessories because it’s cheaper and I personally find it more satisfying to do. But when I do make my costumes from scratch, I usually search up tons of reference photos to get all the details of the outfit. I go into my secret cosplay room (Yes – I have a room dedicated to dumping all my cosplay mess) and use basic patterns that I’ve already made and adjust it according to whatever the character’s design is. If it was armor, I do the same thing except with foam and a heat gun. After, I start working on props in the same way with different material. When I get a wig, I style it accordingly with hair glue and hairspray and a bunch of other products that’s meant to give it that anti-gravity look.
CE: Do you have one character you love being the most? Who is currently your favorite?
MC: I don’t have a favorite character right now. I usually have a hard time letting go of my more “classic” cosplays. For example, Sailor Moon, Yuffie Kisaragi, etc. because they stuck to me since childhood. But one character that I dress up often with is Catwoman. It is literally the most comfortable cosplay I have without all the annoying tangled hair or the heavy props. It also keeps me really warm because I get cold very easily.
CE: Is there anything at conventions that you particularly don’t like? Why?
MC: Yes. People at conventions who feel entitled to harshly judge others’ cosplays because they’re “know more” about the character or consider themselves more “professional” in creating costumes.
Even if some people haven’t watched the show or played the game, maybe they’re cosplaying a character because their friends wanted to have a whole group to join in. Maybe they had love-at-first-sight with the art concept and design of the character. Either way, they are still appreciating something about it. We really shouldn’t drive them away because cosplay can still follow their interest in the show or game.
There are also those who really look down on people who don’t make their own costumes. I used to be this way but unlike others, this ideology drove me away from the fun of cosplay for fear that “I’m not a real cosplayer if I don’t create it perfectly IN MY OWN HANDS”. I realized that if you have the money to buy costumes and lack the time to make it, go ahead. Not everyone’s life revolves around making costumes for conventions. The Western Cosplay culture really focuses a lot on sewing and crafting skills to determine how elite you are in the scene. Some Eastern cultures focus more on looking like the character. Either way, each has their own definition of what makes a cosplay great. And I think that if you wear a costume, you are a cosplayer.
CE: What are your future plans and goals for your next body of work?
MC: Currently, I am focusing less on making the costumes and more on the “play” aspect of cosplay. I really love a lot of video game designs so you’ll see me buying more of those characters in the near future. On YouTube, I started to create series of short videos which I call “Cos-Covers”. I either voice act, sing, play instruments and dance as the characters in costume. Maybe I’ll expand to fighting choreography or other special skills for these videos. I want to do more photo shoots and use my skills as a model to portray emotions and moments that a character goes through in a series. Hopefully, I can join in along on masquerades at conventions and do live cosplay performances that really brings a character to life on a different level.